Weeping Karzai Climbs Into Grave During Half Brother's Funeral

The Afghan president said the Taliban "should stop killing their own people"

This article is from the archive of our partner .

A day after his powerful half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was assassinated by a confidante in the southern province of Kandahar, Afghan President Hamid Karzai pushed past his guards at Wali Karzai's funeral in the Karzai family's ancestral village of Karz, climbed into an open pit, kissed his dead brother's face, and "sobbed alongside the coffin," according to the AP. "He remained there for at least a minute," the AP writes, "his grief overwhelming other cries and prayers. Relatives and guards were unable to coax him out, but two men locked their arms underneath Karzai's and pulled their leader out by force." In this Reuters photo, some of the thousands of mourners who gathered for the burial pray over Wali Karzai's grave:

In the AP photo below, Karzai offers prayers during the funeral. The Afghan president had a message for the Taliban, who have claimed responsibility for the attack, at a subsequent press conference: "My message for them is that my countrymen, my brothers, should stop killing their own people. It is easy to kill and everyone can do it, but the real man is the one who can save people's lives."

The Telegraph has video of the funeral, including brief footage of Karzai entering the grave:

The AP notes that Wali Karzai's death has serious implications for the war in Afghanistan and "power relations" in southern Afghanistan, "where the international military coalition has few friends of stature and none with the sweeping influence of the president's powerful sibling. Karzai will struggle to find an ally resourceful enough in balancing alliances with tribal and political leaders, drug runners and militias in a province where the Taliban still hold much sway." Indeed, Afghanistan's fragile security was underlined today when the governor of Helmand province survived two remotely-detonated mine explosions on his way to Wali Karzai's funeral and a bomb attack killed five French soldiers and an Afghan civilian in eastern Afghanistan.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.